The Non-Commvention got underway yesterday at the World Cafe Live at the Queen at the Wilmington, and there are all kinds of bands playing at the new venue in the old Queen Theatre on Market Street, through Saturday afternoon.
Lafayette, Louisiana upstarts The Givers (pictured) performed on Thursday afternoon (they also play the North Star Bar on Saturday), as did gospel greats The Blind Boys Of Alabama, who you can see doing Hank Williams' "I Saw The Light" in a video below shot by ace camera woman Lauren DeLucca.
For those of you who aren't music business insiders, Non-Comm is an annual convention of mostly public, most Adult-Alternative radio stations that draws a wide range of acts because it gathers together plenty of influential radio programmer types.
And despite rumors of its Internet-hastened demise, radio is still a significant player in the music industry. In an interview with WXPN deejay Dan Reed, Cliff Burnstein of Q Prime management, who works with Metallica, Sleigh Bells, the Black Keys, Gillian Welch and Josh Groban, said that in his company's model for success, "radio is 1 through 9 in our Top Ten."
Burnstein, by the way, was quite the raconteur of Metallica misbehaving stories, and, for a little local color, the University of Pennsylvania grad told tales of the "Beef Power" Captain Beefheart-inspired radio show he hosted on XPN - which presents Non-Comm - along with Michael Tearson in 1967.
And speaking of music industry heavy hitters, I ran into power-broking publicity mahoff Marilyn Laverty of Brooklyn and Ocean Grove, N.J.-based Shore Fire Media at the Queen on Thursday, after watching David Dye interview Robbie Robertson for future airing on XPN's World Cafe.
Laverty talked up worthy Americana fiddler and songwriter Amanda Shires (who plays the Grape Room in Manayunk on June 1) and Philadelphia soulstress Nikki Jean (whose star studded album is due in July), It was her first time at Non-Comm, which will be back at the World Cafe Live in West Phialelphia next year.
"Publicists more than ever are reaching out to NPR, and non-commercial radio stations," Laverty said. "Because the stations support both aspiring and established artists.... It's really a democratic format based on talent and quality of songwriting."
They'll be some songwriters of particular quality at the Queen on Friday night, with a sold-out show that includes Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes, Justin Townes Earle, the Civil Wars and Jose Gonzalez of Junip. The Non-Comm schedule wraps up Saturday afternoon with noontime perfomances by the Sam Roberts Band and the Jayhawks.
Previously: Songs For The Rapture